Monday, January 18, 2021

American Exceptionalism

If there's one thing that really does (or did) make the U.S. exceptional, it's that we had one of the first peaceful transitions of power from one political faction to another. And then we did it again and again and again for over 200 years.

And then, this year, we didn't.

That is really what is being celebrated with all those inauguration festivities this week. I realize that in 2016, Trump thought he was just celebrating his unexpected win over Clinton. But the Obamas still invited him to the White House, and graciously handed over the keys. And then Barry left Don a letter, just as his predecessors had for decades. Sure all that stuff is silly symbolism, but it symbolizes something real and something that is really important. In past transitions the incoming and outgoing people often didn't like each other. Nixon was convinced Kennedy stole the election because of Illinois in 1960. And yet, he still showed up when Kennedy got sworn in. Gore came to watch Bush in 2001 after he really was cheated.  The U.S. was stronger because of a universal commitment to a peaceful transition of power, and respecting the process even when the process was a bit of a rip off. That tradition was something important we had. Then this fucking toddler has to come along with his fragile ego to ruin it, possibly forever.